Twin cities are a special case of two cities or urban centres which are born in close geographic proximity and then grow into each other over time. The term Twin Cities in the United States refers specifically to the cities Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Cities twinned geographically do not necessarily match demographically, economically, or politically.
In the normal course of things, cities which grow into each other's space in this way lose their individual identity and whatever border or barrier still separates them becomes irrelevant until they fuse into one new city. One famous example of this is Budapest in Hungary, which began as two settlements (Buda and Pest) facing each other across the Danube at a strategic fording place along a trade route; another is London, England, which resulted from the merger of two cities, the City of London and the City of Westminster. But there are twin cities which have been able to resist this final union and have maintained individual identity against the tides of history, economics and demographics.
Twin cities often share an airport, into whose airport code are integrated the initials of both cities; DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) and MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul) are well-known examples.
In some cases, such as Albury/Wodonga in Australia, the two cities are permanently divided by a state boarder, often one that strictly adheres to a geographical landmark, such as the Murray River that divides New South Wales from Victoria, and thus, Albury from Wodonga.
- The capital of the medieval Khazar Empire, Atil-Khazaran, which was situated on the western and eastern banks of the Volga River, respectively.
- Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan
- Hyderabad and Secunderabad, India
- Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, India
- Hubli and Dharwad, India
- Kolkata and Howrah, India
- Ramallah and al-Bireh, in the West Bank
- Taipei and Keelung, Taiwan
- Taoyuan and Jhongli, Taiwan
- Seoul and Incheon, South Korea
- Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai, India
- Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Israel
- Manchester and Salford, UK
- Brighton and Hove, UK, though there are several other smaller towns like Worthing which make up the metropolitan area.
- Ludwigshafen and Mannheim, Germany
- Ulm and Neu-Ulm, Germany
- Mainz and Wiesbaden, Germany
- Porsgrunn and Skien, Norway
- Sandnes and Stavanger, Norway
- Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg, Norway
- Gorizia, Italy and Nova Gorica, Slovenia
- Gornja Radgona, Slovenia and Bad Radkersburg, Austria
- Buda and Pest, Hungary
- Tornio, Finland and Haparanda, Sweden
- Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
- Minneapolis and Saint Paul, popularly known as the "Twin Cities" in North America
- Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, often referred to as the "Twin Ports"
- Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec; formerly included Hull, Quebec until Hull (and also other municipalities) merged with Gatineau in 2002.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Even though both cities were amalgamated into the Halifax Regional Municipality they are separated by Halifax Harbour and still retain separate identities.
- Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario (occasionally mentioned with nearby Cambridge), popularly abbreviated as "Kitchener-Waterloo" or "K-W"
- Corte Madera, California and Larkspur, California.
- Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan
- Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri
- Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario
- Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York
- Leominster and Fitchburg, Massachusetts
- Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut
- Dallas, Texas and Fort Worth, Texas
- Des Moines and West Des Moines, Iowa
- Champaign, Illinois and Urbana, Illinois
- South Bend, Indiana and Mishawaka, Indiana
- Lewiston and Auburn, Maine, sometimes locally referred to as "LA" or the Twin Cities.
- Saco, Maine and Biddeford, Maine
- Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana.
- Monroe, Louisiana and West Monroe, Louisiana.
- Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas
- Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas, exemplify a chain of twin cities on the Mexico-US border, particularly within the Rio Grande valley.
- Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
- Rosenberg, Texas and Richmond, Texas
- Bluefield, Virginia and Bluefield, West Virginia
- Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee
- Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora
- Calexico, California and Mexicali, Baja California
- Sherman and Denison, Texas
- Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas
- Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas
- Sarasota, Florida and Bradenton, Florida
- San Diego, California and Tijuana, Baja California
- Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
- Kalamazoo, Michigan and Battle Creek, Michigan
- Gulfport, Mississippi and Biloxi, Mississippi
- Little Rock and North Little Rock, Arkansas
- Kenosha, Wisconsin and Racine, Wisconsin
- Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington
- Seattle, Washington and Tacoma, Washington
- Bryan, Texas and College Station, Texas
- Reno, Nevada and Sparks, Nevada
- Waterloo, Iowa and Cedar Falls, Iowa
- Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Lansing, Michigan and East Lansing, Michigan
- Sacramento, California and West Sacramento, California
- Eugene, Oregon and Springfield, Oregon
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey
- Bismarck, North Dakota and Mandan, North Dakota, Also known as Sister Cities to local residents.
- Pierre, South Dakota and Fort Pierre, South Dakota
- Sioux City, Iowa and South Sioux City, Nebraska
- Fort Smith, Arkansas and Van Buren, Arkansas
- Miami, Florida and Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Palm Beach, Florida and West Palm Beach, Florida
- Lakeland, Florida and Winter Haven, Florida
- Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama
- Auburn, Alabama and Opelika, Alabama
- Anniston, Alabama and Oxford, Alabama
- Benton Harbor, Michigan and St. Joseph, Michigan
- Peoria, Illinois and East Peoria, Illinois
- Bloomington, Illinois and Normal, Illinois
- Lancaster, California and Palmdale, California
- Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota
- Midland, Texas and Odessa, Texas
- Nevada City, California and Grass Valley, California
- San Francisco, California and Oakland, California
- Fort Myers, Florida and Cape Coral, Florida
- Denver, Colorado and Aurora, Colorado
- Silverthorne, Colorado and Dillon, Colorado
- Edwards, Colorado and Avon, Colorado
- Albuquerque, New Mexico and Rio Rancho, New Mexico
- Delmar, Delaware and Delmar, Maryland
- McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Tamaulipas
- Breckenridge, Minnesota and Wahpeton, North Dakota
- Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota
- Brainerd, Minnesota and Baxter, Minnesota
- Yuba City, California and Marysville, California
- Eureka, California and Arcata, California
- Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah
- New York, New York and Newark, New Jersey
- San Antonio, Texas and Austin, Texas
- Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
- Gregory, Texas and Portland, Texas popularly known as Gregory-Portland or "GP"
- Boston, Massachusetts and Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington named after the explorers who first visited the region.
- Leticia, Colombia and Tabatinga, Brazil.
- Rivera, Uruguay and Santana do Livramento, Brazil.
- Vitória and Vila Velha, Brazil.
- Aparecida and Guaratinguetá, Brazil.
- Florianópolis and São José, Brazil.
- Juazeiro and Petrolina, Brazil.
- Recife and Olinda, Brazil.
- Ilhéus and Itabuna, Brazil.
- Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
- Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile
- La Serena and Coquimbo, Chile
- Concepción and Talcahuano, Chile
Fictional twin cities
- The Tri-Cities, Washington, consisting of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick, Washington, along the banks of the Columbia River
- The Tri-Cities, Tennessee, Tennessee and Virginia, consisting of the twin cities of Bristol, Tennessee/Bristol, Virginia, Kingsport, and Johnson City
- The Research Triangle in North Carolina, consisting of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
- The Golden Triangle in Texas, consisting of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange.
- The Piedmont Triad in North Carolina, consisting of Greensboro, Winston-Salem (itself a merged city), and High Point.
- The Tri-Cities (Michigan) in Michigan, consisting of Bay City, Saginaw, and Midland in the Saginaw Valley
- In Illinois and Iowa: three of the four Quad Cities—Moline and Rock Island in Illinois and Davenport in Iowa—were formerly known as the Tri-Cities, before the inclusion of East Moline, Illinois and later, Bettendorf, Iowa
- The Capital District in New York, consisting of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy
- In Colorado: the towns of Firestone, Frederick, and Dacono (known as the "tri-towns")
- In Nebraska: Grand Island, Kearney, and Hastings in the south-central part of the state
- Tri-Cities, Virginia, consisting of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell in the Greater Richmond Region
- In New Hampshire: Dover, Somersworth, and Rochester in the Seacoast Region
- In Florida: the Tampa Bay Area, consisting of Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg
- In North and South Carolina: the Metrolina region, consisting of Charlotte, Gastonia and Rock Hill.
- In Oklahoma: Tuttle, Newcastle, and Blanchard (sometimes with the town of Bridge Creek)
- In California: Anaheim, Orange, and Santa Ana, the three oldest cities in Orange County
- In California: Yorba Linda, Placentia, and Brea, three cities in northeast Orange County that all meet at Tri-Cities Park.
- In California: Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, and Brea, representing San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange counties, respectively
- In California: Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista in northwest San Diego County
- In California: Fremont, Newark, and Union City, the three southernmost cities in Alameda County
- In California: Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria, sometimes referred collectively as the South Coast, being on the a south-facing coast in Santa Barbara County. The term 'tri-cities' is only rarely used as a reference to them, and is considered somewhat old.
- The Triple Cities in New York: Binghamton, Endicott and Johnson City
- In Pennsylvania: Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton
- Tri-Cities (British Columbia), consisting of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody, located east of Vancouver
- Penetanguishene, Ontario, Victoria Harbour, Ontario, Midland, Ontario, and Port McNicoll, Ontario.
- Ingersoll, Ontario, Tillsonburg and Woodstock.
- Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
- Tri-Towns, a historic designation for the towns of Haileybury, New Liskeard and Cobalt, which is no longer in widespread use since the amalgamation of Haileybury and New Liskeard into the city of Temiskaming Shores in 2004.
Examples of cities formed by merging
- London grew from its cores in the City of London and the City of Westminster to encompass many other towns and villages.
- Budapest is the amalgamation of Buda, Pest and Óbuda.
- Minneapolis. St. Anthony (not to be confused with St. Anthony Village, a modern city which is a suburb of Minneapolis) was a twin city to Minneapolis in the two cities' youth. Minneapolis, the larger of the two, annexed St. Anthony in the late 1800s.
- New York City (five boroughs, historically especially between Manhattan and Brooklyn)
- Hong Kong (Victoria City and Kowloon)
- Thunder Bay, Ontario (Fort William and Port Arthur).
- Lloydminster, Canada, on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border, was formed as a single entity in 1903, when both future provinces were part of the Northwest Territories, but was divided into two separate entities in 1905 because the border between the newly created provinces bisected the community. In 1930, the two towns were reunited as a single town under the shared jurisdiction of both provinces, and Lloydminster was reincorporated as a single city in 1958.
- Halifax and Dartmouth (Canada) were forcibly merged in 1996 along with Bedford and Halifax County to create the Halifax Regional Municipality.
- Berlin (Berlin and Cölln) in Germany
- Wuppertal (Barmen and Elberfeld) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
- Townsville (Townsville and Thuringowa) in Queensland, Australia
- Saguenay, Quebec (Chicoutimi and Jonquière, et al.)
- What is now the city of Winston-Salem in North Carolina was once two separate towns called Winston and Salem.
- Pittsburgh annexed Allegheny City, which is now the quarter of the city that lies north of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers.
- Wuhan in China consists of the towns of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang in Hubei Province
- Seattle anex neighboring towns of West Seattle and Ballard
Resistance to merging
and Normal, Illinois
have always rebuffed any merger referendum, and where the original boundary is the appropriately named "Division Street". In England
, the cities of Leeds
are very close, but have strong separate identities and would not see themselves as part of the same entity. Both cities have individual cathedrals and councils, as well as having separate sports teams.